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If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry

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iTunes Review

From its chaotically scribbled lyric sheet to the explosive sounds on the album itself, Marah’s fifth studio release is the band’s most deliberate attempt yet at fully capturing their rag-tag Bruce Springsteen-gets-jumped-by-the-Replacements aesthetic. Brothers David and Serge Bielanko write songs that flip between serious to senile, wringing pathos from finger-picked ballads (“City of Dreams,” “So What If We’re Outta Tune (w/ The Rest Of The World)”) and setting the bar on fire with the backroom blitz of “The Closer” or the Faces’ jug-band groove of “Sooner Or Later.” Recorded live over the course of nine studio days and two weeks in their bass player’s apartment, the album feels more like a document of a time and place — that being drunken nights in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the band’s home of Philly — than a concentrated artistic statement. Their mastery of this artless art makes them loveable underdogs: blue collar intellectuals with humane songs to carry them through.


Formed: 1993

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Philadelphia's eclectic, rootsy rock quartet Marah consists of singer/songwriter/guitarist/banjoist David Bielanko, guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Serge Bielanko, bassist Danny Metz, and drummer Ronnie Vance. Dave Bielanko, Metz, and Vance formed the group in 1993; brother Serge was so impressed with their sound that he wanted to join Marah, which he did in 1995. The band found an unofficial fifth member in producer/engineer Paul Smith, who was similarly taken with Marah's Replacements-meets-Springsteen...
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If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry, Marah
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